The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has canceled or postponed all events scheduled on the Qualla Boundary through the remainder of the year. This includes the Cherokee Fire Mountain Inferno and the Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon & 5K. All registered participants for these races will be deferred to the 2021 events, with the Fire Mountain Inferno slated for May 22-23 and the Cherokee Harvest race planned for Sept. 18, 2021.
The N.C. Mountain State Fair, scheduled for Sept. 11-20, has been canceled. Fair officials determined that holding the fair within Centers for Disease Control guidelines would result in an extremely scaled-back experience and that to move forward would be too financially risky. The fair costs more than $1 million to put on, and a commitment of $500,000 in contracts and expenses would be needed by the end of the month to operate the fair this year. Should the event be ultimately unable to proceed, those funds would be lost. So far, 76 events scheduled to be held at the WNC Ag Center have been cancelled, resulting in a significant loss of income.
The Southern Highlands Reserve Native Plant Symposium planned for Aug. 22 has been cancelled, with the annual event planned to resume next year.
Mountain Heritage Day, the annual community and campus celebration of Southern Appalachian culture presented by Western Carolina University since 1974, is cancelled for 2020. The event is held the last Saturday in September and typically draws more than 15,000 people for a range of events including a 5K race, chainsaw and timbersports competitions, Cherokee stickball games, musical performances and more.